Out of the Garden, part ten

The nice thing about naming your website Bible Musings is that it sets an expectation for what’s going to be on that website. To muse about something is to reflect and think upon it, or to use a biblical word that you see me throw around a lot, meditate on it. And that’s pretty much what you get here. So today, a verse in Genesis inspired me to look at the idea of how names create expectations. Is it bad to have an expectation hanging over you in life? Let’s dig into this and see what we think.

So, at the young age of 182, a man named Lamech had a son. That’s where we’re jumping in here in Genesis 5.

Genesis 5:29  Lamech named his son Noah, for he said, “May he bring us relief from our work and the painful labor of farming this ground that the Lord has cursed.”

For some reason, this caught my eye and really captured my attention. In Hebrew, Noah’s name means rest and comfort. Part of me thinks it’s a really cool thing to have spoken over you at birth and to have built into your name, but the other part of me feels like that’s a bit too heavy of an expectation to have of your child. Either way, Noah was a man born with an expectation and a destiny upon his shoulders.

This really got me thinking about my life and my own name. Before I go into this, I want to say that not everyone had some deep thought and expectation baked into their name. And that’s okay. I’m not 100% sure what my parent’s expectations were as it connects to my name and I intentionally didn’t ask them before writing this. I wanted to illustrate how we create our own expectation and name destiny. How we can create something powerful to drive ourselves towards something bigger, whether it’s exactly in line with what our parents intended or not. And if you think about it, that’s kind of biblical, because Noah’s eventual destiny didn’t exactly line up with what his father had expected of him. Yet it was still amazing and important and worthwhile. If you’re going to just guess from what you see in scripture, I’d say that Noah’s expectation for himself was to be a man who always obeyed God no matter what. 

Okay, so my first and middle names are Aaron Charles. I’m going to start with my middle name. I received this from one of my uncles. It was his middle name too. Here’s the thing. That uncle was special to my mom. He was the closest to her age as she was the youngest sibling in a family with five boys and only the one girl. He was a friend to her, probably a protector at times, something of a safe place, if you will. To have that brought over into my name, I love that. I love my uncle but we don’t have a close relationship, but the middle name feels like it brings me closer to my mom. What’s funny is that I have some of the same personality attributes that my uncle showed to my mom. Someone prophesied over me once and called me a “safe harbor” for other people and it’s honestly my favorite thing anyone’s ever spoken over me. Is it because of my name? No, of course not, but I won’t discount the possibility that the expectation of knowing what my Uncle meant to my mom and how he’d treated her and wanting to live that out for others might’ve guided me toward treating others similarly. It’s not an expectation I carried out very well before I dedicated my life to God, though.

When it comes to my first name, Aaron, I’m pretty sure the inspiration was mainly biblical. I was the younger brother, and while my older brother isn’t named Moses (that’d be so cool if he was, though) I imagine that maybe my parents went searching for little brother names in the bible and settled on Aaron. I gladly allow this name to set an expectation on me. You look at the role Aaron played in the bible and its things that I want to emulate and things I actively put into practice. He encouraged his brother, lifted him up, was a great support to him. One thing I feel that I am gifted at is encouraging others and being a support to them.

Aaron was also a priest. Check out this instruction he received from God.

Leviticus 10:11 And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.”   

Guess what my favorite thing to do in the whole world is. Teaching people the bible, particularly the Old Testament (much of which was given through Moses). I’m not saying that because my name is Aaron I was destined to become a bible teacher, but at the same time, it’s a heck of a coincidence when you look at his life and mine.

Now look, I want to make sure that it doesn’t come off like I’m putting more power into these things than they should have. God is the true source of power and if you think about it, none of these great expectations in my life manifested until I made the decision to follow Jesus. However, I do think there is great benefit in having an expectation set upon you that is healthy and gives you something to strive for. I think we’ve gotten to a place as people where we look at expectations as a bad thing, but that doesn’t have to be the case. I’m a bible teacher. There’s an expectation upon me that when I show up to teach at church I’m going to be prepared, and I’m going to have some great bible insight to share. Guess what that expectation does? It drives me into the word of God. It helps me make smart decisions when my desire for reading the bible comes into conflict with my desire to be lazy and watch Netflix. It’s a healthy expectation that assists me in maintaining who I want and need to be.

God created each one of us for a purpose. If your name doesn’t come from the Bible or your parents didn’t instill a healthy expectation into your life, I want to encourage you today to create your own. Living life at a high level is easier when we have things we’re striving toward. Create an expectation of love, of obedience to the word, of service to others. Who do you want to be in life and what expectations can you place upon your behavior that will turn you into that person?

That’s it for today. I love all of you and I hope the week is treating you well. If you have any prayer requests or just need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me at freejenkins@gmail.com.


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